Motion to Compel Bishop Bruno to permit the parish to return to its buildings pending the disposition of the bishop’s misconduct trial filed.
St James the Great Episcopal Church has filed a Motion asking to return to its property pending the final disposition of misconduct charges filed against the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno. On 26 Aug 2016 representatives for the parish filed a pre-hearing motion asking the Episcopal Church’s Hearing Panel adjudicating the dispute to require “Bishop Bruno, during this Title IV case, to allow the congregation and community to return to St. James the Great.”
On 1 July 2016 the Conference Panel hearing the 6 July 2015 complaint against Bishop Bruno brought by members of the Orange County congregation alleging “140 canon violations” recommended the bishop appear before a Hearing Panel to answer charges he lied to the clergy and members of the congregation, misled the standing committee and abused his authority as bishop when he expelled the congregation from the church in order to sell the property to real estate developers.
The parish cited Title IV Canon 13.5 as providing a legal basis for their request for their motion, and averred the Church Attorney representing the Episcopal Church supported their request. The motion stated they were asking for “something akin to a preliminary injunction in civil court. In that context, courts consider two questions: first, whether the party seeking the preliminary injunction is likely to prevail on the merits, and second, whether the party seeking the preliminary injunction is suffering irreparable injury. The Complainants satisfy both elements of this familiar test.”
The averred they were likely to prevail on the merits of the question whether locking a congregation out of its church was conduct unbecoming of a bishop and that the “Complainants are suffering, every week, serious injury, the injury of being excluded from their Episcopal church, of being forced to worship in exile.”
Bishop Bruno has fifteen days to respond to the Motion, which will then be adjudicated by the Panel.